Some 150 militants armed with rocket launchers and other heavy weapons on Thursday stormed a security checkpoint in a tribal area of northwest Pakistan, local intelligence officials say.
Eight soldiers were killed in a raid on the checkpoint in the Marabi area of South Waziristan, near the Afghan border, Reuters reports. At least 12 insurgents were reported killed in an overnight firefight that lasted at least three hours.
The attack on the police checkpoint follows a recent surge in U.S. drone strikes in the area. A U.S. drone attack recently killed a top Al-Qaeda militant, Ilyas Kashmiri, officials said.
Violence in Pakistan’s volatile northwest has escalated since the May 2 killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. special forces in the garrison town of Abbottabad. Militants have launched several major attacks on police and military targets in northwest Pakistan and in the southern city of Karachi.
Some of the militant attacks were said to have been conducted to avenge bin Laden’s death, while others are aimed at derailing Pakistani plans for an operation to eliminate militant bases in North Waziristan along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack on the checkpoint. But last week, the Pakistani Taliban carried out a similar attack in the northwest.
On Thursday, two bomb attacks elsewhere in northwest Pakistan killed six civilians, the Associated Press reports. The deadliest of the bombings hit a vehicle on the outskirts of Peshawar, killing four people including a woman and a child.